‘They’re old but they’re still guilty’: last Nazi hunter in a race against time – #neverforget


Efraim Zuroff watched the Adolf Eichmann trial on TV 60 years ago. It was the beginning of his long quest for justice.
He describes himself as “the only Jew who prays for the good health of Nazis”. As the last Nazi hunter tracking down the last surviving Nazis from the Holocaust, Efraim Zuroff is in a race against time. Those who took part in the systematic murder of six million Jews in Europe are now over the age of 90, and almost all are frail or sick. Zuroff himself is 72 – born three years after the end of the war – and has been hunting former Nazis for more than 40 years. He is as committed to the task as ever. Currently his energies are focused on a Lithuanian woman, now probably 97, living in an English-speaking country, who as a teenager was seen smashing the heads of Jewish babies who were her neighbours. Three months ago, Zuroff had a positive lead but the Covid pandemic has frustrated further inquiries for now. “She could die at any moment. It’s an occupational hazard,” Zuroff tells the Observer in a Zoom call from Jerusalem. In his four decades as a Nazi hunter, Zuroff has submitted the names of more than 3,000 suspects to 20 countries. Many states are slow to pursue legal action, he says; death has allowed suspects to escape justice as evidence gathers dust in prosecutors’ offices. But there have been notable successes. Asked what was his biggest catch, Zuroff cites Dinko Šakić, who became commandant of the Jasenovac concentration camp in Croatia at the age of 22 and was responsible for the murder of 2,000 people. After the war, he moved to Argentina, where he lived for 50 years before being brought to trial in 1998. Zuroff was there to see Šakić laugh as he was found guilty and jailed for 20 years.

via guardian: ‘They’re old but they’re still guilty’: last Nazi hunter in a race against time